Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Right to work nonsense in the GOP platform

Not only did the Ron Paul folks apparently take over the National Affairs subcommittee of the Montana GOP platform committee, but now an (admittedly weakly worded) right-to-work plank got added. (H/T Missoulapolis, where Carol continues her great convention coverage.)

This nonsense needs to stop. It is fine for individual Republicans to run on right-to-work, but it shouldn't be an official policy of the party platform. Regardless of how hostile unions are to the Republican party (but not always -- after all they endorsed Alan Olson in his critical PSC 3 race,) there is just no sense to this sort of thing. Brad Molnar was not amused, and neither are we.

Set aside the political suicide of it, at least for candidates running in so many parts of Montana. There is also a free-market case to be made against right-to-work legislation. Think of it this way: right-to-work laws take away the right of an employer to have the stability of a union contract with its work force.

There needs to be a balance between labor and employers, with neither having the upper hand. Since Taft-Hartley, unions have not had the upper hand, and the balance has been reasonable, by and large. Robert Taft believed that if you don't have unions and employers -- two private entities -- negotiating with each other, government is bound eventually to be the one that will step in and tell people what to do in disputes. How is that an improvement?

There are reasons why Montana has a less-than-favorable business climate, but we have yet to be convinced that our not being a right-to-work state is one of those reasons.

It sounds like there are a few things to be ignored in the Montana Republican platform by candidates -- and quite a few things that need to be re-addressed in two years.


sydey@alias said...

You haven't made any reasonable nor logical argument against Right to work legislation. No one should be forced to donate or be a part of an organization if they don't want to be.

Montana Headlines said...

There was no intent to present an organized case against right-to-work legislation in this post other than the obvious political case that in Montana, advocating right-to-work legislation is the kiss of death.

It could cost us control of the legislature, and then the unions that right-to-work people hate so much would really be in the drivers' seat.

That's not very reasonable or logical, is it?

Employers have a choice of whether to deal with unions or not. They can shut down their business and reconstitute elsewhere if they like. Many have.

Employees have a choice about whether they want to work for an employer who has a contract with labor unions. Many choose to work elsewhere rather than join a union.

In an agreement between labor unions and employers, disputes between two private entities are privately settled. The government is involved only to the extent that it supervises secret-ballot elections on whether a shop wants to unionize or not. But the negotiations over pay and work conditions are between two private parties.

Absent labor unions, disputes between work-forces and employers often ended up becoming violent, and in today's day and age, would end up involving the government being the arbiter.

And government should never be the answer.

The right to unionize is essential to the functioning of a free economy. Read Robert Taft, ur-conservative, for more info.